Caldera + Lab co-founders (and couple) Stacy Keibler and Jared Pobre were splitting their time between Los Angeles and Jackson, Wyoming when the idea for a direct-to-consumer skincare line for men took form. It came in response to the needs of individuals—like Pobre—spending time outdoors in dry, harsher climates. Years of research and development went into their debut product, THE GOOD—an all-natural, non-toxic face serum derived from high-elevation botanicals found around the Teton Mountain Range. It’s a lightweight, all-in-one product that we’ve tested for several months. From the light-blocking bottle design to the sophisticated recipe, THE GOOD sets itself apart from others in the market. We spoke with Pobre to understand how the product came to represent the region that inspired it.
This core of high-altitude botanicals (local fireweed, elderflower and yarrow), how did you select them and can you talk some about the wild harvesting of certain ingredients?
When we were in the ideation phase of our brand, on a hike in Jackson Hole, a botanist introduced us to fireweed—a unique ingredient that has been used for centuries by Native Americans in skin remedies. The more we researched the area, alongside highly trained experts, we realized that some of the most potent plant species could be found natively in the local Teton Mountain Range. Because Jackson Hole experiences a harsh climate (low humidity, cold snaps, sunlight, low oxygen, etc) these natively grown plants develop an unparalleled resilience. Fireweed, elderflower and yarrow really complemented each other and when mixed together, produced a complex that could rival lab heroes like retinol and hyaluronic acid.
What do they offer the skin?
All of the ingredients have been carefully chosen for their natural efficacy in treating the kinds of issues that I had and that other men often grapple with. Fireweed, calendula, meadowfoam, red bergamot, red raspberry, calendula, yarrow, and alfalfa help with inflammation. Antimicrobial herbs like yarrow and sage protect from skin infections. Frankincense, jojoba, prickly pear, and red bergamot help balance skin sebum levels—not too dry, and not too oily. And natural Teton Valley herbs support the skin’s ability to heal and reduce pigmentation if you’re recovering from acne.
THE GOOD product development lasted two years. What was happening during this time?
With the best quality team made up of highly trained herbalists, green chemists and formulators, we researched thousands of ingredients, 200+ native botanicals and an equally long list of those that we needed to avoid. The hardest part was building our formulations from the ground-up, perfecting our scent, texture and potency. Unlike other brands, we started everything from scratch instead of using standard bases available in the market. We also undertook intensive testing and an eight-week clinical trial. We were able to prove our product was highly effective before we went to market with 96% of men reporting their skin looked healthier.
Can you talk some about the design of the bottle, the process behind it and the materials (lightproof glass and wood, in particular) you’ve used?
We invested significant time on the packaging, both to be functionally strong as well as aesthetically powerful on shelf and in the hand—never compromising on sustainability. Glass was an obvious choice, given 80% of recovered glass is made into new bottles vs only 9.5% of recovered plastic. Our all-natural formulation is highly sensitive to sunlight so we needed the packaging to protect the stability and potency over time—leading to our custom sprayed bottles. We then wanted to emphasize the all-natural non-toxic nature of our brand with a custom dropper, in which natural wood, PEFC-certified as sustainable, is wrapped around a plastic and glass dropper that is made from recyclable materials and is 100% recyclable. The result is a really unique, streamlined and custom package that stands out with a holistic view of the impact that we are making.
Has it become your role to educate men on skincare, as well?
We take our role as educators seriously and have invested in customer service that answers within one to two days. Although we focus heavily on sharing information on proper skin care techniques and regimens, we like to communicate a message of overall wellness. We’re lucky to have the brand as a platform to educate men on clean non-toxic choices and conscious living—two concepts that a significant percentage of our customer base are new to.
Finally, can you talk about some of the ways Wyoming has influenced the product itself?
Jackson Hole definitely ignited our journey in 2016 when our quest for improved health and a connection with nature ignited. Jackson Hole is adjacent to Yellowstone National Park, also known as a “caldera,” a natural geological formation, a depression left over after the eruption of a volcano. Eventually some calderas transform from devastation into a rich hotbed of plant life. The foundation of our brand combines plant-based ingredients with cutting-edge science. We’ve developed THE GOOD; wild-harvesting high-altitude botanicals from the Jackson region, converting them into a clinically proven, highly effective product in a state-of-the art lab.
Images courtesy of Caldera + Lab